Foreign Affairs

'Finland benefited tremendously from the EU'

An interview with Anna-Kaisa Heikkinen, 2nd Secretary, Finnish Embassy, New Delhi

Do small countries like Finland benefit from EU in terms of economy policies and geopolitics?

Small countries like Finland stand more to profit than to loose in the EU in terms of economic policies and geopolitics. We are now part of a larger economic area and a common currency zone, which reduces the risks and the volatility of our national economies. Although, our hands are of course tied in terms of certain fine-tuning.

Also in terms of geopolitics, we are a part of a larger political entity which, although still low on hard power, has lots and lots of soft and smart power. Geopolitics and security are in today’s world about so much more than only guns and armies.

How has Finland benefited otherwise?

Finland has benefited tremendously from the EU. We have become a part of a global-scale actor in trade, economic policies and world politics; a very practical benefit is the euro zone. We feel we have been able to make our voices heard through the EU channel. Of course, many of our citizens and politicians feel there have been also negative impacts from our membership in the EU – rising prices, shifting of certain decision-making powers to Brussels etc.

What is Finland’s vision for EU?

Finland is an active member of the EU and sees great advantages in the further consolidation of the Union. Finland’s vision, however, is not a federal Europe but an active Union consisting of independent member states. We emphasise the need to make the Union more transparent and understandable for the people, and the need to reform the institutional structures to correspond with today’s realities.

What is Finland’s contribution to EU?

Well, I think they stem from our culture of good governance and transparency, I think we have brought a lot of those influences into the Union. Also, we have always been known for our emphasis for efficient no-nonsense administration.

This interview was a part of a paper by Kunal Majumder on Finland’s role in EU

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